May 23, 2008

Fishy Day at Cyrene

Though it was early and wasn't really very low, a determined group of shore explorers head out to Cyrene.This time, we are focusing on learning more about the fishes on Cyrene Reef. Collin has brought a seine net and together with Jeffrey, they carefully and gently check out the fishes in a deep pool in the middle of the reef.

The fishes are carefully scooped in the net and observations and identification quickly made and the fishes immediately released. These photos were taken after the fishes were released.

There were several of these strange fat pipefishes!It really does look like the seagrasses where it lives! It is called the Alligator pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus). Also sometimes called the Double-ended pipefish because it's not immediately obvious which end is the front end.Here is the front end of the fish, with a long narrow snout and a pair of eyes.

It has short transparent fins on the sides of the head, and on the top of the body.You can see this one swimming with its dorsal fins. It doesn't have a tail fin and it is said that its tail is prehensile.

This fat pipefish come in various colours and patterns.
They belong to the same family as seahorses, Family Syngnathidae. And like seahorses, it is the papa pipefish that carries the eggs!The eggs are found on his underbelly.Some of the pipefishes, however, didn't have any eggs on the underbelly. Here we are taking a very gentle look at the underside.There were also small razorfishes (Family Centriscidae)!These fishes are often seen hanging vertically head down over hard corals. They are also known to be found among the spines of large sea urchins such as the Long-spined black sea urchins (Diadema sp). And now we know they are also found among seagrasses!
These fishes have a long sharp dorsal spine that is located at the end of the body. Those with a hinged dorsal spine (like this one) belong to the genus Aoeliscus. These fishes also swim horizontally, as we discovered.

There were lots of filefishes in the pool!There are three different coloured filefishes in this photo, can you see them? The bright green one with the white smiley mark is probably the Seagrass filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus), while the darker one on the lower bottom of the photo is probably the commonly encountered Fan-bellied filefish (Monacanthus chinensis).

This one is probably the Strapweed filefish (Pseudomonacanthus macrurus).Filefishes belong to Family Monacanthidae and get their common name because they have a rough skin that has the texture of a file. They are also sometimes called Leatherjackets for their tough skin.

The wonderful surprise of the day was this really strange fish with a 'beard'.Here is a closer look at its face. It is holding up the 'beard' into a point under the tiny upturned mouth.It has a long broad tail.At first we thought it might be a pipefish. But some checking after we got back and we now know it is a filefish! It is the Bearded filefish (Anacanthus barbatus). This is the first time I've seen this fish! Wow.

We also encountered several of these well camouflaged Variable fang-blennies (Petroscirtes variabilis).Other fishes encountered in the pool included several large flatheads (Family Platycephalidae), small rabbitfishes (Family Siganidae), lots of tiny cardinalfishes (Family Apogonidae) and one large fat pufferfish (Family Tetraodontidae).
We also saw some very VERY tiny seahorses (Hippocampus kuda), that looked like mosquito larvae!

Besides the fishes, there was also this tiny little squid!
Thank you Rudie Kuiter and Jeffrey Low for the fish ids!

The rest of the team, meanwhile, had gone on to explore on their own.YC as usual, goes to all lengths to find and take photos of the marine critters.Here's the happy team at the end of this short, not so low trip to Cyrene.And the special guest on this trip is Gloria! She submitted an excellent blog entry about Cyrene for the blogging contest as part of the "I want to go Cyrene" facebook group. Congratulations Gloria for being the first outside the working group to say "I've been to Cyrene!". And thank you for supporting our effort!

If you would like to join us to Cyrene, join the blogging contest for the next trip scheduled on 23 Jun (Mon) 0700-1000hrs. Send in your entry by 15 Jun (Sun) to

As we depart Cyrene, we take nothing but memories. And leave nothing but footprints (and as few of those as possible too).

Other blog entries about this trip

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff you have spotted!